EDITOR’S UPDATE: The NYTimes published a heart-wrenching feature on Queen Underwood, delving into her history as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. With the US Olympic boxing trials beginning today in Spokane, Underwood is largely considered the nation’s best chance to win gold in women’s boxing. The story shows Queen evolve from an abuse survivor to a dominant force in the ring.
From the New York Times:
THE TWO SISTERS shared a bed, and each night, with their hearts hammering, they would listen for the turn of the knob and the push of the door.
Quanitta Underwood was 10, her sister Hazzauna, 12. The walls of the house were thin, and the girls could hear every move their father made. Hear him sit up, hear him get out of bed, hear him walking their way.
Quanitta pinched her eyes shut when her father entered the room, but she could imagine the presence of his familiar silhouette. She felt his weight sink into the bed while his hands traveled beneath the covers. As Quanitta feigned sleep, her father groped her sister and often rolled on top.
Azzad Underwood was a forceful man, not so much in size as in manner. He was a welder by trade but gave way to few men in self-importance. He could be charming. He had been president of the parents association at the girls’ school and was among the most active members at a local Church of God in Christ.
Both girls loved him and trusted him, but young as they were, they realized their father was doing something on the wrong side of normal, far from Jesus.
so much for posting the link to this story.
Barry Bearak, the author of the NYT piece, was imprisoned during unrest in Zimbabwe in 2008 (for the crime of “committing journalism”): http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/27/world/africa/27bearak.html
I know this because Bearak gave a lecture in one of my journalism classes shortly before his arrest ordeal. I can say he is one of the professional journalists who most inspired me to become a writer. Lots of inspiring people in this story.